Asheville Council approves developments and video policy

More housing: City Planner Julia Fields presents rezoning proposals to the Council at the Feb. 10 meeting.

Police video and audio recording of events can be held a minimum of 30 days before being destroyed, Asheville City Council decided on Feb. 10. The new rule was one of many items on Council’s consent agenda, and it passed unanimously. So did two rezoning requests that add housing stock in the city.

“Right now, there are no rules or policies on how long we keep videos,” Asheville City Attorney Robin Currin told Council members. “The first step, in order to make a [North Carolina] Department of Cultural Resources Records policy we can adhere to is, it has to go before Council. All [this new rule] says is, we have to keep the footage for at least 30 days.”

The policy is designed to lay the groundwork for the use, present or future, of fixed and mobile recording devices used by the city, Currin explained.

An Asheville Citizen-Times investigation found that the city has stored about 100 videos, and since 1980, has filmed a range of public events, such as Ku Klax rallies and Moral Monday protests. The Citizen-Times has sued to get public access to the videos. City staff said that no videos will be destroyed while the lawsuit is pending, and that they’re working on a policy for recording public events, the Citizen-Times reports.

WLOS reports that City Manager Gary Jackson says “he’ll begin to work with the Interim Asheville Police Chief to develop a more specific policy that would place limits on things like what can be filmed, how long videos can be kept and when footage should be destroyed.”

Meanwhile, Council also adopted two rezoning requests but postponed decision on a third — Craggy Gardens, a 45-lot subdivision .

Developer Broad Properties’ plans for an undeveloped, less-than-an-acre lot include building a two-story structure that will have 1,800 square feet of offices on the first floor and identical square footage upstairs for three one-bedroom apartments. The site lies at Broad and Charlotte Streets, and it’s currently surrounded by other offices and a restaurant. In January, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the developer’s rezoning request, which changes the site classification from RM-16 (residential multifamily, 16 units per acre) to CBI/CZ )Community Business 1 District/Conditional Zoning).

In Montford, RPMM Properties has proposed a 10-lot subdivision that will feature conversion of three existing homes into multifamily units. The existing houses on the site are designated as group homes but have been vacant, according to a city staff report. Most of the homes around the site, located at 141, 145, and 149 Courtland Ave., are single-family. Council approved RPMM’s rezoning request, which changes its classification from RS-8 Residential Single Family High Density District to RM-8/CZ Residential Multi-Family Medium Density District/Conditional Zoning.

In other news:

Motorists may soon be able to be backed into parking spots near the Grove Arcade. Council moved further discussion of reverse-angle parking to the Feb. 24 meeting.

“We’ve been ticketing people with the front of their cars facing out,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. “That doesn’t make sense.”

Action agenda:

Here’s Council’s official “action agenda” —

ACTION AGENDA February 10, 2015

The action agenda is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the council meeting and any decisions that were made. It does not provide action on ceremonial or non-substantive matters.

THIS ACTION AGENDA IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. Authority to carry out actions related to any council decision should be obtained through normal departmental procedure.

Please call the City Clerk’s office at 259-5601 if you have any questions.

Present: Mayor Esther E. Manheimer, Presiding; Vice-Mayor Marc H. Hunt; Councilman Cecil Bothwell; Councilman Jan B. Davis ; Councilman Christopher A. Pelly; Councilman Gordon D. Smith; Councilwoman Gwen C. Wisler; City Manager Gary Jackson; City Attorney Robin T. Currin; and City Clerk Magdalen Burleson

Absent: None

ITEM AND SUMMARY

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to accept a grant from the N.C. Dept. of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshal, for smoke alarms with the purpose of providing free smoke alarms to the citizens of Asheville. — Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign a grant agreement with Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority for $1.8 Million in Tourism Product Development Funds. — Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing 2014-15 Housing Trust Fund loans to Biotat, LLC (Oak Hill Commons) and Beaucatcher Commons, LLC (255 Hazel Mill Road). — Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing the Asheville Fire Department to apply for a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, to obtain funding for replacement of 83 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, and to accept grant funding if awarded. — Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing approval of an amendment to the N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources Records Retention and Disposition Schedule establishing a minimum retention period of 30 days for video and audio recordings captured by fixed and mobile recording devices. — Adopted Unanimously

Motion to approve the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law for the conditional use permit for Hawthorne South apartment complex located on Turtle Creek Drive. — Adopted Unanimously

Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with Hypersign/Avionex LLC to provide digital menu board solutions and related equipment at the U.S. Cellular Center. — Adopted Unanimously

Ordinance amending Sections 19-144 and 19-164 of the Code of Ordinances to allow reverse angle parking (or backing-in parking). — Continued to 2-24-15

Technical budget amendment in the City’s Housing Trust Fund to appropriate from restricted fund balance the required budget authorization for prior year commitments that rolled forward to Fiscal Year 2014-15. — Adopted Unanimously

Food Policy Action Plan Update Legislative Update Process — Heard Update

Public hearing to consider a conditional zoning of property located on Broad Street from RM-16 Residential Multi-Family High Density District to CBI/CZ Community Business I District/ Conditional Zoning to construct a 2-story building with office space on the first floor and 3 residential units on the second floor, with a changed condition request to the landscape requirements. — Adopted Unanimously

Public hearing to consider a subdivision with conditional zoning on property located at 141, 145 and 149 Courtland Avenue from RS-8 Residential Single-Family High Density District to RM-8/CZ Residential Multi-Family Medium Density District/Conditional Zoning to (1) allow the conversion of three existing group home buildings into multi-family units and the subdivision of land to locate those buildings on separate lots; and (2) to establish 7 additional single-family home lots, with a changed condition request to the landscape and open space standards. — Adopted Unanimously

Public hearing to consider a conditional zoning on property located at 95 Craggy Avenue, 180 Louisiana Avenue and 178 Louisiana Avenue, from RS-8 Residential Single-Family High Density District to RS-8/CZ Residential Single-Family High Density District/Conditional Zoning to allow for the creation of 45 lots in two phases and associated infrastructure, with a changed condition request for lot sizes and setbacks, sidewalk standards and pavement and right of way widths. — Continued to Feb. 24

Confirmation of Asheville City Board of Education candidate essay questions. — Confirmed

Boards & Commissions: (Council to determine who, if any, to interview)

African American Heritage Commission — Delayed until 3-10-15
Airport AuthorityAppointed Stephanie Brown
Citizens-Police Advisory Committee (South Asheville resident)Appointed Clifford Joslin
Civil Service Board Chair — Appointed Alan Coxie
Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee — Appointed Allison Bond

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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